Down on Cubs Farm: Mills lit up, Hoerner and Amaya homer, more


by - Columnist -
Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports
Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

The Cubs saw better results on the farm on Saturday, as they finished off the day with a solid 3-2 record. Combine that with the 2-1 Rookie league record and the Cubs were 5-3 overall for the day.

IOWA CUBS 2 – Round Rock Express 10: In his return to Iowa after a brief two-start with Chicago, Alec Mills was lit up by the Express as he delivered his worst start in nearly two months. Mills continues to give the Cubs length going 6 2/3 innings but with seven runs on 10H allowed, including 6ER, the Cubs fell 10-2 to drop to 57-49 on the season.

Things were not as bad as the final score indicated early in the game as it was the Cubs finding a way to strike first against the Express. With two down in the first and a pair of runners on base, Jim Adduci smacked his 19th double of the season to open the scoring as the Cubs took the early 2-0 with hopes of adding on. Unfortunately, that would be the lone two runs for the Cubs as they couldn’t get it done the remainder of the game.

The Express managed to take the lead for good in the third after a three-run frame as the Joshua Rojas single put Round Rock on the board ahead of a Jack Mayfield game-winning double for the 3-2 lead. The Express put things away in the top of the seventh with their second big inning of the day as the Kyle Tucker Grand Slam was the final dagger pushing the lead to 7-2. The Express would add three more off Craig Brooks and Randy Rosario the next two frames to seal the deal 10-2.

Iowa struggled all game long after the first and managed just three hits as a team. Outside of the Adduci double, Phillip Evans and Taylor Davis each added singles for the other two hits. Mark Zagunis remained cold at the plate going hitless again with a walk while Addison Russell has yet to see a plate appearance since his demotion.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 4 – Chattanooga Lookouts 1: The Smokies were happy to hit the road after getting swept at home by Montgomery. Next on the list was cross-state rival Chattanooga as Luis Lugo got the start hoping to stay hot. Although he lasted just 4 2/3 and didn’t qualify for the win, Lugo was sharp in allowing just 1ER before the bullpen took over to allow only one hit the rest of the way in the Smokies 4-1 win. The Smokies move to 44-61 on the season.

For Tennessee, all four runs came in the first inning as their offense was locked and loaded. It was all about the long ball for Tennessee as Nico Hoerner put the Smokies on top for good 1-0 with his third homer of the season. After a Vimael Machin single and Jhonny Pereda walk, the Smokies had a pair of runners on base with two outs as they looked for more. Gioskar Amaya made sure that would happen as he connected for his first homer of 2019 to bust the game open 4-0.

The home run ball continued to be a factor in the bottom of the first with Jose Siri going deep for his ninth to put the Lookouts on the board 4-1. For both teams, that was all the offense provided in the game as both pitching staffs not only settled in but found a way to shut each other down for eight innings. In the end, it was the Smokies coming through with the win as Oscar De La Cruz earned the win in relief with Wyatt Short earning the save.

The Smokies tallied six hits in the ball with two each coming from Hoerner and Amaya as they provided all the offense needed. Christian Donahue and Machin added the other two hits in the win. Short managed to pick up his seventh save in the win and lowered his ERA to 1.85 in the process.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 – Salem Red Sox 7: The Pelicans continue to play inspiring baseball during the second half but once again fell to Salem 7-5 to drop to 40-64 on the season. Paul Richan not only failed to make it out of the fifth inning but allowed more than three runs in a start as he took the loss after allowing 4ER in four innings.

Offensively speaking, the Pelicans got off to a great start putting a crooked number up in the first. Already with traffic on the bases, Miguel Amaya knocked home the games first run with a single as the Pels were on top 1-0. Later, in the first, it was red-hot Grant Fennell continuing to swing a hot bat ripping a single of his own up the middle to make things 3-0 Pelicans.

A Pedro Castellanos homer in the bottom of the first not only got the Red Sox on the board but managed to cut things to 3-2 in the process. With the Pelicans pushing the lead to 4-2 in the top of the second, Salem managed to even things up at 4-4 in the bottom half of the same inning as a pair of Myrtle Beach errors allowed two runs to score with the Red Sox.

Castellanos was not done having a big night at the plate as he delivered what proved to be the winning hit in the fourth inning. Already with one homer to his name, Castellanos went deep in the fourth for the second time in the game and fourth of the season to give the Red Sox the 7-4 lead. That score would hold up until the top of the eighth when Cam Balego got in on the fun with an RBI double, but the Pelicans couldn’t get any closer falling 7-5.

Tyler Durna, Amaya and Jose Gutierrez had the best nights at the plate in terms of hits as the three of them all had multi-hit nights for the Pels. Five others recorded one hit for the Pels as part of their 11-hit night. Enrique De Los Rios and Ryan Lawlor did their best to keep the team in the game, tossing four innings of one-hit relief.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 6 – Lansing Lugnuts 0: After struggling mightily on their previous road trip, the Cubs started on a positive note downing Lansing 6-0 to improve to 54-48. With Brendon Little getting through 4 2/3 shutout innings before the bullpen took over, South Bend needed minimal offensive support to get the win which happened immediately in the first.

The Cubs managed to take the lead for good in the first off, a wild pitch as that proved to be the difference with a 1-0 lead. Two innings later saw the Cubs offense finally come to life in terms of players driving in players. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Jonathan Sierra manufactured a run via baseball 101 as his sac-fly put the Cubs up 2-0. Cole Roederer would extend the lead later in that inning with an RBI single to put South Bend on top 3-0.

That score remained intact until the top of the eighth inning when the Cubs not only pushed across more runs but doubled the lead in the process. D.J. Artis continued on a torrid tear since his rehab stint collecting his 13th double to push the lead to 4-0. Andy Weber followed that up with a single of his own to bring home two more runners and just like that it was a 6-0 Cubs lead as they went on to win by that score.

Both Yonathan Perlaza and Weber provided the multi-hit games with Weber adding two RBI’s to his line. The other five hits came from five different players as South Bend struck first and didn’t look back. Casey Ryan earned the win in relief as his ERA fell to 1.98 while Sean Barry finished the game off bringing his ERA to 1.82. Little currently spots a 2.01 ERA after his start.

EUGENE EMERALDS 4 – Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 3: Eugene came away with a huge road win on Saturday as they topped the first place Volcanoes with a 4-3 win to move to 19-24 in 2019. Zach Mort continues to be the anchor of the Eugene pitching staff, entering in the second inning before tossing six innings of 2ER ball to earn the win.

Once again Eugene was able to get off to a quick start striking for the games first run in the first inning. After Fernando Kelli reached base and his speed causing fits, Nelson Maldonado brought home the game's first run with a single. A few batters later saw Grayson Byrd double the lead with an RBI groundout and just like that the Emeralds held a 2-0 advantage.

Kelli continued to build on the Emeralds lead in the top of the fourth using an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0. It was in the fifth when the Volcanos began to flex their muscles as they clawed back to make things interesting. With Jeff Houghtby putting the Volcanoes on the board with an RBI double, Carter Aldrete cut things to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Looking for some crucial insurance runs, the Emeralds got one of those in the top of the sixth inning as a steal and a wild pitch brought home the fourth Emeralds run and a 4-2 lead. That score would hold up until a late-game rally for the Volcanoes. Down to their final three outs, Houghtby made things a bit more interesting with another double as things were now a 4-3 game. Fauris Guerrero was not fazed on the mound and was able to recover by recording the final out and lifting the Ems to the 4-3 win.

The Emeralds collected 13 hits in the game with the bottom two recording seven as Pedro Martinez debuted with a 4-4 night and Luis Vazquez added three hits of his own. Both Kelli and Maldonado added two-hit one RBI nights for the Emeralds as those were the only two RBI’s recorded. Jake Slaughter went 1-3 with Chase Strumpf getting the night off. Cub fans finally saw third-round pick Michael McAvene make his season debut as he tossed a scoreless first for the Ems.

DSL CUBS (1) 4 – DSL Rangers (1) 5:

DSL CUBS (2) 5 – DSL Rangers (2) 3

AZL CUBS (1): Off

AZL CUBS (2) 7 – AZL Giants (Orange) 5:

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